How long does a dog need to rest after heartworm treatment? A Comprehensive Guide

That rest is so important

How long does a dog need to rest after heartworm treatment?

Heartworm disease in dogs is no joke, and neither is the treatment for it.

It’s super involved, and if you don’t keep your dog inactive throughout the lengthy process, heartworm treatment can come with some potentially fatal complications. So, your pup won’t be able to be active for a while afterwards.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Zach Marteney, a veterinarian and medical director at Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey, to find out when your dog can get back to his old self and how to ease him back into being active after his heartworm treatment.

What to expect after heartworm treatment

Heartworm treatment for dogs is long, painful and expensive, so you can expect your pup will need a lot of rest and relaxation after.

The process will include:

  • Blood work and other tests — to find out how serious the infection is
  • Taking heartworm prevention medication — to target younger worms in his system
  • A series of steroids and antihistamines — to prevent inflammation
  • Heartworm killer medication (aka melarsomine) — to kill adult heartworms
  • Hospitalization — to make sure your dog doesn’t have any complications after the melarsomine injections
  • Since the treatment involves killing the heartworms while they’re still in your dog’s body, it’s crucial to make sure he’s inactive during and after treatment — meaning no running, jumping and playing.

    Slow, low-impact walks are the most strenuous activities your dog should be doing for the five to six months after his diagnosis.

    That’s because any activity that’ll raise your dog’s heart rate will increase his blood flow, which can push dead heartworms’ bodies deeper into your dog’s lungs and cause life-threatening blockages.

    How long does it take for heartworms to disappear?

    Hello this is Dr. Garner again from Question from Randy: “Our dog was diagnosed with heartworm. How long does it take after treatment for the worms to disappear? The vet’s going to keep him overnight. Approximately how long will the dog be in danger after the heartworm treatment?”

    Talking to dog owners about rest and recovery during heartworm treatment

    This handout provides information on the treatment of heartworm disease in dogs. For more specific information on the causes, and transmission of heartworm disease in dogs, as well as testing procedures, see the handouts “Heartworm Disease in Dogs” and “Testing for Heartworm Disease in Dogs”.